«Kobalt is being worked upon if there’s blue water flowing” –said people from Verbilki with deep understanding of the situation, when they looked at the water of the local rivers Yakot and Dubna. And now by the colorful commercials everywhere, we can easily tell – we’re in the porcelain territory.
We can definitely say that Franc Yakovlevich Gardner – an English businessman was a very romantic person. We have no way of knowing now whether he was a real merchant as he wrote in his documents (in those times all foreigners who were coming to Russia with pleasure attributed themselves different ranks and titles) but we know for sure that he was a romantic person. Otherwise why did he leave “Foggy Albion” and come to Russia? By the way, he wasn’t at sovereign service or any usury, but he climbed in a jungle of ware business – a new and dangerous business for Russia. It would have been easier if he was a hereditary glass blower, but no… The secrets of manufacturing of glass he got to know from the local and foreign masters. He found out some things from the first Russian glass master Ivan Grebenshikov, who was in prison for stealing secrets of foreign masters many times.
But Gardner risked and won.The business had success. Maybe this success was because he picked up a beautiful place for his porcelain factory, where everything was impregnated with positive fluids – the picturesque river and the air of a pine forest.
Probably, the prince Nikolay Urusov was regretting after he had sold this place to some English swindler! But there is some “fate irony” because the far descendant of Urusov – Moscow publisher Michael Urusov - helped the porcelain factory to publish a magnificent book devoted to 250 years of the enterprise – “Porcelain of Verbilka”.
In 1775 the cunning Englishman gave a service as a gift to the empress and charmed the “weak woman”. She ordered this factory the production of the empress service for different chambers – Georgivskaya, Andreevskaya, Aleksandrovskaya and Vladimirskaya. Therefore, she had shown to foreign envoys that the Russian people do not eat from the bast shoes. After that, the blessed business started to grow and develop. Gardners even shifted the famous Imperial factory among the top factories in Russia. The owners of the porcelain factory have also got the right to put the national State Emblem on their production.
From the “light hand” of Franc Gardner his followers easily adopted all the advanced achievements. If anyone tried to make some new model, Gardners took this model for their own production, still being called the symbol of fashion.
In the end of the XIX century porcelain factory became a property of a Russian businessman Matvey Sidorovich Kuznecov leaving the successors of Franc Gardner. He was a new wave businessman – the first prototype of the so-called “New Russians”. The component of art and unique things he left behind and started the manufacturing of some cheaper and simpler porcelain, however, holding the famous mark of Gardners. As Kuznecov had already had many factories, he bought this porcelain factory just because of its famous mark. So here came something like a “Panasonic of Malaysian assemblage” on the porcelain dish market.
But even Kuznecov couldn’t destroy the traditions of Gardners to the end – fortunately in the exemplary pantry there were few thousands of porcelain and faience pieces. You could just take them and start manufacturing any piece without having to deal with the need for the painters.
The soviet reformers organized the production in a different way, having “An Accessible cup in every house!” as a motto of the Ministry of Light Industry. The words about the high quality had nothing to do with the reality. There was the problem that the masters of the porcelain factory couldn’t do thin-walled porcelain – the old equipment and only simple eye estimation couldn’t cope with this task. Nevertheless the amount of production of the porcelain factory was increasing. In the XX century at the beginning of the 80’s the Dmitrovsky porcelain factory (such was the name of the factory at that point) there were millions of cups and saucers. In every house and family the products of the Verbilka porcelain factory could be found.
Amazingly enough, during the collapse of the Soviet Union, when many factories seized to exist, the porcelain factory in Verbilka resisted. The head of the factory Vadim Dmitrievich Lunev didn’t chase for the temporary profit. He tried to conduct the business slowly and accurately, reduced the production along with the compression of the assortment. At the same time he saved the heart of the factory, keeping its century traditions alive. There was demand again as soon as the production gained some stability.
And here we are – the president of Russia Putin drinks beer from the verbilovsk mug on the anniversary meeting with the students of MSU. From there on there is a habit for the high-ranking officials to order some porcelain souvenirs by different anniversaries. It’s not fashionable to order Stalin's bust anymore, Peter I is much preferable. What the porcelain masters will be making tomorrow depends on the demand of the consumer.
Now this porcelain factory has new owners – in 2009 the place of the head of the factory was given to Igor Evgenevich Dudnik. Gennadiy Vyacheslavovich Belyakov received the spot of the head of manufacturing. High quality and wide variety are being taken care of by the new owners of factory, especially by Alexandra Borisovna Mamedova - a vigorous woman with a wide scope.